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Oct 2, 2017

bad blogger

Wow, it’s been since MAY that I blogged last. They say it’s bad blogging etiquette to say “It’s been SO LONG. I’m sorry I’m a bad blogger. It’s been super busy.”

But you know what?
It has. 

Ministry:
There have been more medevacs, which means both Josh and I work extra. From July 2016 to July 2017 we had 36; both in country and out. That’s a record for our center/clinic/program.
left to right: Jon Leedahl, Dr. Kevin Ludwig holding baby Jensen, Josh Verdonck after flying a medevac to Cairns, Australia
photo via: @j_verdonck

Besides the medevacs (not all of which Josh flew, obviously), there has been lots of other flying to keep him busy. You’ve probably heard about the newest tribal work open in Maliyali. They are first delivered to a staging area in the Kodiak, then shuttled in to their village of Maliyali in the helicopter. Josh was one of the main pilots helping with their allocation, as well as delivering them to their new home.
Josh doing one of the Maliyali allocation runs with the guys, Nathan (back), and David.
photo via: @j_verdonck
As is always the case with ministry work, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” You probably remember that in January, one of our pilots had to leave for an early furlough. Unfortunately, in the last two weeks before we left, one more pilot had to stop flying as well. That leaves the program at 3 Kodiak pilots and 1 helicopter pilot for the next 6 months at least. This is a heavy load for the team there, as it doesn’t take long to burn out.

While we can’t exactly change our plans, this is something that weighs on Josh and I. Will you pray with us that God would send some more pilots to help carry the program in PNG?

Family:
Apart from the ministry side of life there in PNG, is the personal side. The doing life side. For us, that has meant getting excited as Baby GIRL Verdonck keeps growing right on schedule and is doing very well, and so are we.
View from our new porch! :)
We also got the opportunity to move into a different house on the center, one that needed a little work before we could move. Luckily Josh had lots of help, so it didn’t take too long before it was ready for us to move in. We now have a beautiful home that we absolutely love, and a wonderful front porch that we make regular use of. This is the first time that we actually feel settled.

It was election season in PNG this summer, which brings on a whole host of drama in the country, as emotions run high and strong about their candidates.

Maternity Leave:
So now we are in America, on our maternity leave. We’re living in our hometown of Florida, in a little house in a great location. Just a few days after we arrived in Florida, Hurricane Irma came right through our town. Being inland, we did not need to evacuate as mostly hurricanes are just wind and rain for us; it’s the post-storm clean up that causes all the difficulty. Luckily there was no major damage to any of our friend’s or family’s homes, and apart from the annoying clean up, and no power for several days, all is well.
Josh and I at our baby shower this weekend. So many blessings, and so fun!
We’ve seen the OB/GYN, pre-registered at the hospital, and signed up for all the parenting classes we can. There’s an overwhelming pile of baby clothes and supplies in our living room, and a car seat in "our" minivan. But at 33 weeks, it won’t be long before we have to put that stuff to use!
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May 17, 2017

names

You might have heard that New Tribes Mission has changed their name; it’s now called Ethnos360. I wanted to give a little update on what that means for us.

The vision for Ethnos360 is exactly the same as New Tribes Mission, it just uses more culturally appropriate language for the various places they work, stepping away from language that can be offensive or dangerous (such as “tribes” and “mission”). Ethnos still represents the people groups that are the heart of NTM, and 360 represents the globe. The vision is still the same, there’s just a new face.

Right now NewTribes Mission Aviation has not changed their name, although I suspect they will change soon to maintain continuity across the board. Until that happens, we still work for New Tribes Mission Aviation in Papua New Guinea.

Each separate field has the choice to use a culturally appropriate name, and in Papua New Guinea it would actually hurt us more to step away from the ties that NTM has here by changing our name. The relationships, paperwork, and legacy that exists here under the banner of New Tribes Mission is a generally good one, and changing that could potentially damage those ties. This name change from NTM to Ethnos360 only applies to the USA employees.

So, to sum up how this name change affects Josh and I:
In America we are now:Ethnos360andNew Tribes Mission Aviation 
In Papua New Guinea we are:New Tribes MissionandNew Tribes Mission Aviation
If anything changes, we will be sure to let you know! I just wanted to provide a little bit of clarity on this big change within our mission, and how it relates to us.

Apr 26, 2017

little coconut

WE’RE HAVING A BABY!

Sorry, I just had to get that out. :-) You understand, right? 

Here’s the quick baby facts:
·      Currently 10 weeks (2.5 months)
·      Due 20 November 2017
·      Feeling good days and feeling bad days
·      Tired
·      Baby brain (I seriously used to be smart, y’all!)
·      Checkups show all is normal
·      The plan is to leave in September on maternity leave, and return to PNG sometime in March or April.

After Josh and I got married (six years ago, y’all!) I had baby fever. I was sure that Josh would resent me and our child for my nagging. And so I prayed that God would take away my desire for children, and that when it was His time for us to have kids, Josh would be the one to bring it up. Well, God answered my secret prayer! We are both overjoyed to be growing our family!


So besides that very exciting news, Josh has been incredibly busy flying. March was the busiest month we’ve ever had. There were 2 area conferences (on opposite sides of the country), a new tribe being allocated (house building materials being moved in), school break, and several medivacs. Not to mention, two of our pilots with school age kids took their break during that time, because it was the only time they could. Josh flew over 100 hours, approximately three times more than his usual average of 35 hours a month. Things are finally starting to slow down, and Josh and I were finally able to take a break, after almost a year of trying. We spent our anniversary weekend at our favorite coastal town, sitting by the ocean and soaking up the sun. You have no idea how necessary that was for us; there is something so restoring about having no agendas, just sun, sea, and a steady supply of ice cold Cokes. :-)

Feb 9, 2017

quieter community

Things are lot quieter around here than the last time I wrote. I’ve gone back to part time in the clinic, which has given me a lot more free -time to build up some of those relationships that fell by the wayside as I inched my way towards burnout. I’ve joined a ladies Bible study, and have regular coffee dates with girlfriends who are teaching me the beauty of walking through seasons together, and always reminding me of truth. Sometimes living in community is really hard, so it’s really nice to have a community within a community to do life with.
The coast from the air. Can you believe that blue?
Josh has been really busy, but he’s loving it. It seems like there is always a new airstrip to be checked out in, or a cargo run, or a medevac to keep him busy. It’s a good thing he loves it! After watching him not fly for the first 10 months of our time here, and knowing the pain that was causing … it does my heart so good to see him flourishing now! Our team is great, and they have gotten to know each other’s’ strengths and weaknesses and are able to help each other; it’s so cool to see! Friendship is a blessing when so easily we could see everyone as “co-workers” only and not as our friends, too. Community living, y’all.
I got to be co-pilot for our trip! So fun to sit next to this handsome guy!
This view never gets old.
We even got to have a much-needed weekend away, as a church from the states put on a free weekend retreat in the beautiful, coastal town of Madang for about 40 missionaries from all over PNG. It was such a nice time of rest and refreshment. I got to meet some people from our other centers across the country, and it was so fun to make those new connections that I hope will blossom into friendships. It might not have been quite long enough to really count as a true break, but it was nice either way.

This week has felt like fall – and knowing how hot it can get here – I am soaking up the cooler temps, foggy mornings, and rainy evenings. And wearing sweaters and scarves because I can. And burning candles so it’s nice and cozy inside. It’s the little things that make me happy. :-)
Paradise. And that salt air. Oh yes! <3 td="">